Massmart to open 20 more stores across Africa

South African retailer Massmart, majority-owned by U.S. retail giant Walmart, is pursuing pan African expansion plan that involves opening 20 more stores outside South Africa over the next three years.

This was made known to Reuters by the Chairman of the company, Kuseni Dlamini on Monday at the African CEO Forum in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital Abidjan, where he said “We’re very bullish about Africa, sub-Saharan Africa as a whole. This year alone we will be opening eight new stores on the African continent. In the next three years we’ll be expanding our retail trading space by 35.6 percent.”

The new stores are due to open in Kenya, Ghana, Mozambique, Zambia, and Swaziland. Massmart is currently the second largest retail group after Shoprite Holdings. “When we talk about growing our business across sub-Saharan Africa, that definitely includes Francophone Africa,” Dlamini said.

Massmart sells goods ranging from food and televisions to refrigerators and operates nearly 400 stores, Game, Builders Warehouse, Jumbo, Cambridge Food, Makro and Dion Wired brands across 13 countries in the continent.

In recent years, South African retailers have struggled to make profits due to bad economic situation that plagued the country. Consumers battled job losses and high personal debt which held them back on spending. However, recent political events in South Africa, which includes the resignation of former President Jacob Zuma’s resignation and replacement by Cyril Ramaphosa, seem encouraging.

“We foresee consumer and business confidence getting better. We’ve already started to see some improvements on that front,” Massmart CEO said.